Finding roots at Kent State through Kupita/Transiciones


Kupita/Transiciones students and faculty experiencing closing ceremony.

Madison Brattoli

Before the school year begins, Kupita/Transiciones (K/T) hosts a four-day cultural orientation welcoming students from all diverse backgrounds.

Freshman fashion design major Shayla Hicks explained why K/T was important to her this year.

“I feel like Kupita Transiciones (K/T) gave us a good upper hand to start off college because college can be rough. But being a black person it can be even tougher.”

K/T’s goal is to create a sense of belonging and help students gain knowledge of their cultural background.  

Talea Drummer-Ferrell, the director of Kent State’s Student Multicultural Center (SMC), states, “Some students are coming in and saying, I really don’t know much about my culture. We have multiracial students or students who are many generations removed from their culture, they just want a sense of what (their culture) is like.”

K/T focuses on building a family-like community that provides resources to help students succeed.

The four-day program consists of various cultural enlightening activities such as opening ceremony, cultural breakout sessions and multiple culturally diverse meals.

Opening ceremonies consist of an expectation session with family, parents and students. These sessions discuss culture at Kent State, and give students and parents a chance to ask various questions.

Closing ceremony is a favorite among faculty and students. The ceremony consists of faculty and staff reading the village oath which contains cultural rights of passage from African countries.

Drummer-Ferrell states, “It gives me chills every single time I lead it. Words don’t express what happens in that room when the students received that and the faculty and staff around them say it.”

All these experiences students encounter are focused on providing a comfortable environment by educating them on where to find resources.

K/T has a compelling impact on student’s success. There is a significant difference in retention, progress and graduation between students who participate in K/T and those who do not.

“No matter your race, color or your major, you can be best friends (with someone),” Hicks said. “It’s important to learn that now or learn that before you even come to college because you have to learn how to work with different people. I feel like K/T taught me that by encountering (culturally) different people. I am usually used to people that are like me.”

Individuals in K/T are put into groups they call families based on their majors. Through these groups, students are given the proper resources to succeed in their field of study.

Yulani Rodgers, a K/T mentor and junior broadcast journalism student stresses the importance of these families. Rodgers worked to be the best mentor possible in order to help improve these students’ lives.

“My mentor was a really big aspect of my life. I knew nothing about journalism and she walked me through it and helped me get my legs,” Rodgers said.

Other than K/T, the Multicultural Center has various opportunities for all students.

“Even though it’s a multicultural center, it’s not just specifically for those groups, anybody can come to the SMC and feel like they’re home,” Rodgers said.

Madison Brattoli is the diversity reporter. Contact her at [email protected]